The news should be shocking – a former president indicted on federal charges – yet is already tired and worn. Former President Donald Trump was indicted today on charges relating to the 2020 election.
Before Trump, no former president had ever been indicted (Nixon would likely have been had Ford not extended a presidential pardon).
But Trump has already been indicted twice before. Once in Manhattan on state charges relating to an alleged hush money payment (to adult film actress Stormy Daniels) that violated campaign finances laws.
And once in relation to the handling of classified documents.
So, Trump’s newest indictment is just the newest iteration of what has quickly become an old hat.
The newest charges against Donald Trump
Trump was charged with: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.
Bringing the charges, a familiar face, DOJ special counsel Jack Smith – whose office had a statement: “The purpose of the conspiracy was to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the government function by which those results are collected, counted and certified.
The mainstream media is eating it up. “The indictment marks a historic moment for a nation less than 250 years old – the first time a former president has faced criminal charges for trying to overturn the bedrock of democracy, a free and fair election,” NBC reported.
“The indictment of Donald Trump stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election marks the third time the former president has faced criminal charges,” CNN reported. “The latest case against Trump strikes at what’s seen as his most serious betrayal of constitutional duties, when his attempts to remain in the White House after losing the 2020 election undermined the long-held American tradition of a peaceful transfer of presidential power.”
What the charges mean for Trump
When Trump was first indicted (in Manhattan), his fundraising spiked overnight. MAGA circled the wagons around their demagogic leader, making small dollar donations in a show of solidarity. When Trump was indicted a second time, the fundraising spike was more subdued. Will the third indictment have financial ramifications? Or have the MAGA small-dollar donors grown callous to the news that Trump has been indicted. We’ll know in the next 24 hours or so.
Regardless of what happens fiscally, expect Trump’s base to solidify. Because each time Trump is indicted, his long-spun narrative about being the victim of some Establishment witch-hunt becomes a touch more plausible.
So, counterintuitively, instead of damaging Trump’s presidential aspirations, the new charges should give him a slight boost. Not that he needed one. Trump is already polling about 30 points ahead of the next closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whose campaign appears to be in crisis.
Trump will be the GOP nominee. At which point he’ll have to unseat the incumbent president – and fend off multiple lawsuits. That the incumbent president is leading the DOJ, which has brought two of the three indictments against Trump, should feature heavily into Trump’s messaging throughout the campaign.
Oh, and stay tuned because Trump could still be indicted in Georgia, where a prosecutor has been investigating Trump’s involvement in Republican efforts to revise the results of the 2020 election.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.